Patterns of Neighboring: Practicing Community in the Parochial Realm

Margarethe Kusenbach

NEIGHBORING AND COMMUNITY The worlds formed by intimate interaction and primary relationships have been thoroughly studied and theorized throughout the history of sociology. In recent decades, urban scholars have provided solid descriptions and analyses of the social sphere dominated by strangers, the public. In the past, sociologists have also investigated a third social realm quite extensively, one of “communal” or “parochial” interaction and relationships. However, theorizing in this particular area remains underdeveloped. In this article, I aim to advance scholarly understanding of this realm by investigating the normative patterns of neighboring.

The conceptual gap noted above is significant because communal interaction and relationships make up a substantial portion of everyday social reality. We all engage in communal interaction, for instance, neighboring; we all develop and sustain communal relationships, whether they are with neighbors, coworkers, or other kinds of acquaintances. Arguably, most of our life outside the home takes place in communal territories such as neighborhood streets, workplaces, coffee shops, and bars— the latter two niches carved out from public territory, aptly named “third places” by Oldenburg (1989). From Lofland (1973), we also know that people tend to transform public territories into more homey environments in order to maximize personal comfort and benefits. Far from being derivations of the private or the public, communal worlds are distinct, vital, and ubiquitous fixtures of everyday social reality, deserving of independent investigation and theorizing. One aim of such inquiry is to shift sociologists and others’ preoccupation with the dichotomy between “public” and “private” (Sheller and Urry 2003) toward a more complex and more accurate conception of social reality. Building on Hunter’s (1985) model of three social orders, Lofland (1998) provides a new “rudimentary geography” of the lifeworld as a composite of three social realms: the private, the parochial, and the public. She defines realms as social territories, each characterized by a distinctive “relational form” that refers to how individuals interact with one another. An intimate relational form indicates the existence of a private realm, a communal relational form suggests a parochial realm, and a stranger or categorical relational form corresponds with a public realm (p. 14). While, theoretically, any realm can appear anywhere, empirically, certain environments tend to anchor specific realms: “To oversimplify a bit, the private realm is the world of the household and friend and kin network; the parochial realm is the world of the neighborhood, workplace, or acquaintance network; and the public is the world of strangers and the ‘street’” (p. 10). Lofland’s new geography of the lifeworld is tremendously helpful in identifying and overcoming misconceptions in past studies of urban life. Most revealing is her observation in a footnote that Chicago school ethnographies, while routinely considered to be the quintessential body of research on urban and thus public life, are in fact rooted in neighborhood environments dominated by communal forms of interaction (p. 22; cf. Lofland 1983). Elsewhere, she suggests that most of what sociologists diagnose to be calamities of the public realm are actually social control problems pertinent to the parochial realm (Lofland 1994:30). In short, one payoff of a more-differentiated social geography is a better understanding of social territories— their boundaries, structures, functions, and problems—as expressed through interpersonal conduct. Perhaps even more important, by emphasizing social interaction, Lofland’s model can inspire a paradigm shift in the conception and study of “community.” Despite the legendary ambiguity of the concept of community, previous overviews (Altman and Wandersman 1987; Driskell and Lyon 2002; Hillery 1955; Hunter 1975; Karp, Stone, and Yoels 1991; Lyon 1987) largely agree on three basic components that have dominated definitions of community in the past: first, the presence of a shared territory; second, the presence of significant social ties; and third, the presence of meaningful social interaction. I argue that most scholars of community have prioritized the first and second elements—either separately or in combination— over the remaining one. Proponents of a predominantly territorial definition of community have long diagnosed and bemoaned the continuing “eclipse,” or “loss,” of community in our society (e.g., Nisbet 1953; Putnam 2000; Stein 1960; cf. Lyon 1987 for an overview). Over the last three decades, Wellman and other promoters of social network theory (Hampton and Wellman 2003; Wellman 1979, 1996, 1999, 2001; Wellman and Leighton 1979; Wellman and Wortley 1990) have developed an alternative approach that considers community to be “transformed,” “liberated,” or even “saved” instead of being lost. This definition virtually abandons a territorial understanding of community and provides for a radical despatialization and individualization of the concept. Between these two opposing positions stand the many urban scholars who embrace the conceptual gains the social network approach has made, yet who are not ready to fully retire the spatial reality of communities (e.g., Hunter 1974). Numerous empirical studies have substantiated the existence of functioning neighborhood communities. In fact, a recent shift toward community optimism and chronicling neighborhood success stories can be observed among urban scholars of various convictions (Hoffman 2003; Keller 2003; Putnam and Feldstein 2003). Compared with the scholarly attention paid to shared territory and social ties, the third definitional element of community, social interaction, has been relatively neglected. Beyond establishing the existence of parochial social relationships, few urban scholars have focused on examining the exact “nature of social ties” (White and Guest 2003:241) in neighborhoods or, in other words, the patterned social practices and interpretations that generate and sustain social ties. Lofland’s model, while resonating with previous work by urban scholars in the symbolic interactionist tradition (Karp, Stone, and Yoels 1991), provides a fresh impulse for such an investigation. Defining community as a genre of social conduct calls for microscopic analyses of the snippets and strands of communal interaction as the smallest building blocks of community “DNA.” Such a “community magnified” perspective will ground and hopefully invigorate ongoing debates. It will enhance the investigation of “interaction spaces and urban relationships” that Lofland (2003:949ff.) identified as one subarea of urban sociology that particularly benefits from symbolic interactionist scholarship. In more detail, such a perspective can advance theorizing and research beyond current limitations in at least two ways. First, it encourages the inclusion of seemingly nonsignificant interaction and relationships, thereby filling a noticeable conceptual void. Second, it allows one to problematize the nontrivial role of territory for community, not as externally fixed space but as places, that is, complex and layered chunks of environment ripe with individual and collective meanings. Yet of what does the work of neighboring actually consist? What is neighboring? In 1968 Keller offered a basic definition of the concept that is still useful today:

“Neighboring refers to the activities engaged in by neighbors as neighbors and the relationships these engender among them” (p. 29). Informed by Keller’s definition, and Warren’s (1981:73) reminder that neighboring actually follows rules, I define neighboring as a normative set of interactive practices that characterizes neighborhoods as one kind of parochial territory. Generally speaking, I view neighboring as a vital ingredient in the development of local community. Below, I analyze four distinct practices individuals enact to treat each other “as neighbors”: friendly recognition, parochial helpfulness, proactive intervention, and embracing and contesting diversity. In the following pages, I briefly review the literature, describe my research methods and settings, present my analysis, and conclude with a summary and some general comments.

Source: Symbolic Interaction , Vol. 29, No. 3 (Summer 2006), pp. 279-306 Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction

link to complete paper

Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology

TJ Demos

This special issue of Third Text, dedicated to contemporary art and the politics of ecology, investigates the intersection of art criticism, politico-ecological theory, environmental activism and postcolonial globalization. The focus is on practices and discourses of eco-aesthetics that have emerged in recent years in geopolitical areas as diverse as the Arctic, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Europe and Mexico. The numerous contributors address new aesthetic strategies through which current ecological emergencies – including but not limited to the multifaceted crisis of climate change – have found resonance and creative response in artistic practice and more broadly in visual culture. Numerous key questions motivated our investigation: If ecological imperatives are frequently invoked by governments, corporations and certain strands of environmental activism in the name of a post-political ‘green’ consensus for which nothing less than the life of the planet is at stake, how might critical art contribute to an imagination of ecology that addresses social divisions related to race, class, gender and geography in the North and South alike? How might the concept of biopolitics, as elaborated by figures ranging from Bruno Latour to Vandana Shiva, enable a rethinking of hitherto articulated discourses of eco-aesthetics, especially as regards the relationship between ecological art and eco-feminism, or the art and ecology of democratic political composition? How might cultural practitioners contest the financialization of nature by neoliberal globalization, as analysed in Marxist approaches to political ecology, and how might they provide alternatives to the economic valuation of nature or promote a new articulation of the commons against its corporate enclosure? To what extent are recent philosophical writings associated with the so-called ‘speculative realism’ movement (for instance, those of Robin Mackay, Ray Brassier, Graham Harman, Quentin Meillassoux, Iain Hamilton Grant, and Timothy Morton) pertinent to contemporary endeavours in rethinking ecology and activism, considering nonhuman environmental agency, or positing experimental aesthetic approaches to species extinction? How have recent international exhibitions and environmental summits represented sites of conjunction for the innovative investigation of art and ecology? And lastly, how have critical artists engaged an expanded field of ecologically oriented media activism, encompassing websites, documentary films, protest activities, academic research, political forums and various combinations thereof? Such a list of queries comprises an admittedly ambitious (and no doubt impossible) set of research goals for a single issue of a journal to satisfy; equally impracticable has been the commitment to research an inclusive global coverage of practices – still, the impressive results presented in these pages address more than a few of these pressing matters of concern.1 Representing a number of distinctive initiatives that exceed any single approach, the articles commissioned for this special issue from leading and emerging artists and scholars at the cross-section of art and ecology are exemplary of some of the new and innovative ways of conceptualizing and responding to these questions.

Third Text, Vol. 27, Issue 1, January, 2013, 1–9 Third Text ISSN 0952-8822 print/ISSN 1475-5297 online # Third Text (2013) http://www.tandfonline.com http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09528822.2013.753187

cont. reading…

Sacred Geometry

Definition

Geometry can be referred to in the "sacred" sense as the realm of irrational numbers which derive from nature. More than just shapes such as rectangles, squares, circles, etc., "sacred geometry" makes explicit those fundamental mathematical laws and principles which govern nature. Wittkower asserts that Plato, following in the tradition of Pythagorus, "in his Timaeusexplained that cosmic order and harmony are contained in certain numbers." (Wittkower, p.105, 1988) He also states:

Probably continuing Egyptian usage, Pythagoras applied theoretical findings to natural phenomena and discovered wonderful and unexpected regularities and relationships. His observations led him to believe that certain ratios and proportions embodied the absolute truth about the harmonic structure of the world. (Wittkower, p. 147, 1988)

Seyyed Hossein Nasr makes reference to the relative importance of "sacred geometry" in the preface to Keith Critchlow's Islamic Patterns: An Analytical and Cosmological Approach. Although his relationship of "sacred geometry" is through Islam, one can still extract useful notions as to its importance, especially in the religious world. He asserts:

There is within the spiritual universe of Islam a dimension which may be called "Abrahamic Pythagoreanism", or a way of seeing numbers and figures as keys to the structure of the cosmos and as symbols of the archetypal worlds and also a world which is viewed as the creation of God in the sense of Abrahamic monotheisms.

Here, we have the general description of "sacred geometry" and its relative importance to certain scholars. Judging from their interpretations, there exist an unseen connection between the universe, as well as those things that fall under its domain, and "sacred geometry". The possibility of this "invisible relationship" makes available the coexistence of a cosmic, universal order and harmony within nature. Again, the common denominator being those numbers consistently found within nature being the "gateway" towards the understanding of this relationship.

Relationship to the Universe and Nature

It has been mentioned that "sacred geometry" is found within numerous aspects of nature. One example of this link is in the growth of plants. Ardalan and Bakhtiar explain how the grow of a plant relates to the harmonious, rhythmic progression of the so-called Fibonacci series. The stem of a plant rotates as it grows. As it climbs during its growth, the spiraling relates to the fraction of a complete rotation, from one leaf to the next, around the stem. The fraction of growth is proportionate to the so-called Fibonacci series. (Ardalan and Bakhtiar, p. 25, 1973) Many other examples could be referred to here such as the spiral ratio of pine cones. Also, the horns of some animals and certain shells relate to the golden proportion or logarithmic curve. Thus, it can be assumed that the argument of "sacred geometry" and nature's relationship is, indeed, possible.

From these examples, the following becomes increasingly apparent. There is an interconnection between the universe and nature with harmony and proportion. If so, it becomes possible that harmony and proportion are the fundamental "laws" which govern the grand "cosmic order" within the universe. They allow for the general comprehension of the assumed "universal order". This suggested theory is extended to the architectural expression via the use of "sacred geometry" which are spefically inherent in nature. De Lubicz asserts that proportion belongs to geometry and harmony. "Proportion is the comparison of sizes; harmony is the relationship of measures; geometry is the function of numbers." (de Lubicz, p. 61, 1977)

Thus, one can postulate as to whether the basic, underlying principles of the universe are all the same. If they are, then an analogy can be drawn from one relationship to the next. We see in living organism, in some form or fashion, a cyclical nature. "...the cycle of fertilisation, birth, growth, maturity, senescence, death, and renewal is common to all hierarchies." (West, p.92, 1993) In a similar tone, Wittkower provides an insightful perspective. Here he concludes that "...the Renaissance attitude to proportion was determined by a new organic mathematical approach to nature in which everything was related to everything by number." (Wittkower, p. 152, 1988) Within this everything is related to everything approach is the ordering principle of hierarchies. If true, these hierarchies provide a further inter-relationship to the natural order of things. Again, West asserts:

Individual man is a hierarchical organism, or unity. He is part of a higher organism or unity: mankind. Mankind is part of organic life, which is part of earth, which is part of the solar system, which is part of our glaxay. Each represents a higher hierarchy or realm, with inferrable higher degrees of sensitivity and sentience, etc. (West, p. 92, 1993)

Relationship to Man

We can infer, from the above, that man is related to nature as is nature to the universe. Therefore, man is related to, or an analogy of, the universe. As with the universe, man, too, is bound by the underlying principles of geometry which manifest themselves everywhere. Adds de Lubicz, "but if a man constitutes an ensemble, a Unit that has its harmony, he is himself part of a whole. He cannot be born without being in relationship with his environment, and this environment extends as far as the solar system." (de Lubicz, p. 61, 1977) This relationship finally provides a comprehensive glimpse of the cyclicle nature of the natural order and universal continuum. 

Relationship to Architecture

In the grand scheme of things, geometry makes itself visible, time and time again, once the outer layers of implicity are uncovered. If geometry is found within so many aspects of the universe, then it is logical to conclude that its use in architecture is just as feasible. If used in architectural design, geometric principles will provide an extension from the harmonious, rhymic, natural order of the universe to the architectural artifact. In a similar fashion, Wittkower states that:

We have already seen that the architect is by no means free to apply to a building a system of ratios of his own choosing, the ratios have to comply with conceptions of a higher order and that a building should mirror the proportions of the human body; a demand which became universally accepted on Virtruvius' authority. As man is the image of God and the proportions of his body are produced by divine will, so the proportions in architecture have to embrace and express cosmic order. (Wittkower, p. 104, 1988)

Just as geometry enables the universal continuum to exist, architecture serves as the edifice from which geometry can extend itself to the man-made world. It has been suggested previously that geometry has continued to display itself in the architectural design. Many cultures have embraced its use to manifest beautiful architectural expressions. Wittkower suggests that "all higher civilizations (classical) believed in an order based on numbers." (Wittkower, p. 146, 1988) He goes on further to assert that geometry was instrumental in Greek and Renaissance aesthetics. He notes how the Renaissance artists and architects believed in an all embracing numerical harmony in terms of the Pythagorean-Platonic tradition. As well, Kemetic architectural design readily utilized geometric principles to articulate the natural order.

We have seen where numerous civilizations of antiquity incorportated geometric principles within their architectural design scheme. This insight allows a full circle return to the universal continuum. The suggested theory that there exist a cosmic or natural order is extended to the architectural expression via the use of these fundamental principles. Thus, incorporated within its confines are the notion of a universal law of harmony, proportion and man. All intertwined within the weaving web of the ever, encompassing universe. Our task now is how to manipulate geometric principles in order to extend this universal continuum to architecture.

The power of urban street art in re-naturing urban imaginations and experiences

Claire Malaika Tunnacliffe clairetunnacliffe@yahoo.frJuly 2016

Abstract. Urban street art is a powerful tool in reflecting the experience of the urban, provoking an engagement of urbanites with their environment, and in re-socialising public spaces. En- counters with urban street art within the everyday create social interstices, opening up ways of seeing and feeling the world differently; allowing for a creative feedback loop between artist, individual spectator and society. Through the lens of environ- mentally engaged urban street art, this working paper explores how this artistic and social movement reconnects the natural and social worlds within an increasingly urban existence. By disconnecting from the world around us, we have forgotten the natural and social entanglements that make up the fabric of the urban context, and in doing so we continue to create irreparable damages to the environment. With environmentally engaged urban street art disrupting the mainstream experience of the urban, the spectator is provided with an alternative vision of the world at play within the everyday setting. As a result, it is proposed that at the crossroads between urban street art and everyday life, the spectator evolves from a passive to an active participant in the contemporary make up of urban cities. By awakening new understandings and raising consciousness, environmentally engaged urban street art provokes a re-engagement of urbanites with the environment, acting as a catalyst for transformative social change.

Cont. reading....

 

‘Art in capital’: Shaping distinctiveness in a culture-led urban regeneration project in Red Town, Shanghai

JunWang

Culture permeates even the most imposing industrial building. Driven by global city making, city leaders see culture as a key to bolstering a new economy and to dealing with decayed urban sites. However, regional practices of creating creative strategies differ, as actors are not “dancing puppets” but actively pursue their vested interests. The Red Town project in Shanghai is one example that represents the shift from sporadic artistic action to organized construction and management of spaces for the creative industry. This paper probes the development process of Red Town in order to uncover the power relationships of a variety of actors in the urban regime. The pursuit of distinctiveness through selectively authentic conservation and branding of artists’ offbeat taste, in return, offers benefits to several key players involved, such as developers and government agents. However, when the link between artists and archaic industrial buildings is legitimized, the resulting space becomes commercialized and, to an extent, discriminatory. In this case, the architectural edifice celebrates economic growth, while at the same time, it spurs the rise of unexpected social consequences.

 

Introduction

“Art in capital” is a small art gallery in Red Town,1 which is depicted as a creative community formed after the renovation of an abandoned steel factory. Old bricks and mortar are preserved, as well as all other marks of age like rusted nails and non-functional electric wires. The new environment, with its air-conditioning system made in Germany and its heating system made in France, now guarantee a 4A class interior space as evaluated in the office market. In this creative community, sculptures are displayed at communal areas, through which the so-called creative professionals rub elbows a stone’s throw away from their respective offices.

It did not take long for Shanghai, one of China’s economic powerhouses, to embrace cultural consumption. The city is filled with passion for art of all types and descriptions, evident in consumers undeterred by the rocketing prices of art works in recent auctions.2 Art consumption has undoubtedly become a trendy way for many Shanghaiese to assert their distinct taste and identity. However, many art critics worry that this craze for art has allowed consumerism to dominate market behavior and to further lure art supplies.3The same concern pervades the rehabilitation of archaic industrial buildings for the consumption of artistically produced space. The story starts when a cultural group (artists, architects, etc.) moves to usually abandoned and dilapidated industrial plants in the inner city, converting these into workshops and studios. After rehabilitation, these warehouses and production plants magically convert decayed urban area to magnets, which attract artists to move in, one after another, and they also became popular destinations for visitors, many of whom are young adults attracted by that kind of life ‘on the edge.’ The magic effect of the chemistry between artists and deteriorated industrial sites has triggered the interest of many others, including the Shanghai Municipal Government, which was searching for means to push forward economic restructuring under a condition of land shortage in the city. The combination of artists and non-functional industrial sites gave the government a lot of inspiration. At that time, creative industry—the new favorite of many entrepreneurial governments after Florida’s promotion (Florida, 2000)—caught the attention of Shanghai officials who immediately opened their aims to embrace the new economy. Conservationists endeavoring to conserve industrial heritage through rehabilitation gave the action of reuse another fancy cloth of heritage conservation. Packaged in one, the Creative Industrial Agglomeration Area was introduced to encourage the development of creative industrial zones based on recycling of decayed factories in the inner city (Li et al., 2001SHMG, 2001). This lucrative market attracts a different breed of actors, such as real estate developers, government agents, or a coalition of the two. Soon, the piecemeal action was pushed into a city-wide movement. At the end of 2008, 76 sites had been labeled as Creative Industrial Agglomeration Areas (SCIC, 2008). The development at a scale previously unseen caught the attention of the central government, which launched a publicity campaign stressing that urban development occurs “when the creative industry dances with industrial heritage,” and calls for “learning from Shanghai” through its core newspaper (Lou, 2006).

The project in Red Town is one typical case that represents the turning from the first stage to the second stage, namely, from artists’ sporadic activities to organized construction and management of office space for creative industry. The outputs reflect negotiations among different actors who actively participate in this process for invested interests. Since Red Town, other projects desperately resort to heritage conservation to promise a unique experience, through a conscious and deliberate manipulation of history. Priority was given to the cautious preservation of aged buildings’ fabrics, particularly their erosion and decay, often in the name of authentic conservation.

At its planning stage, Red Town was publicized as an attempt to encourage the development of art and culture, as well as to set up a model of rehabilitation of industrial heritage. As the project processed, however, pressure was exerted for economic benefit that is measured in revenues. This paper attempts to probe into the development process of Red Town and to uncover the links to power relationships of a variety of actors in the urban regimes. I argue that Red Town is a project that prioritized the authenticity of heritage conservation, a space made vibrant by culture, seemingly detached from mundane living, and tailored for artists’ use. In reality, however, authentic heritage conservation was applied only to a select portion, specifically the building’s fabric. Meanwhile, the spatial features of industrial legacies, which might best represent the ethos of muscular industrialization, were crudely altered to maximize up-market office stocks.

Data are obtained from interviews and site-visits within a span of 2 years, as well as government documents, magazines published by the Red Town Company, newspaper articles, and reports. During the past 2 years, we have interviewed 22 individuals, including officials from different departments, developers, conservationists, artists and tenants in Red Town. After a literature review, the spontaneous stage is described to introduce how the idea of combining industrial heritage and creative industry emerges, and then the following section focuses on the renovation and management of Red Town, while discursive remarks are made at the end.

Debates: creative class, social divide, and power relationship in the urban regime

The concept of “creative class” was introduced by Florida (2000), who specifies them to be imperative group for cities and regions that expect to succeed in this economy increasingly driven by creativity. In its core, Florida’s thesis is to establish an environment that is attractive to the new ‘creative class.’ The idea has gained prominence among many entrepreneurial mayors who attempt to accelerate economic growth and project their cities to a higher tier in the global city hierarchy.

Culture-led urban regeneration is one kind of means deployed by many locales in their practices to develop a new economy and also to deal with decayed urban areas (Evans, 2003Evans, 2005). One strand of studies promotes that establishment of unique hybrid identity through cultural and heritage boosts distinctiveness and then advancement along the ladder of economy and power. Recalling the word “to imagineer” coined by the Walt Disney Studio to describe its way of “combining imagination with engineering to create the reality of dreams,” the thesis of urban imagineering is introduced at its core as a political act turning to the question of what and how to build at the local level in a more strategic manner than does Disney (Paul, 2004Paul, 2005).

Others argue that the promotion of a particular set of values through themed built environment and spectacles reflects the social divide and unequal relationships (Atkinson and Easthope, 2009). The aestheticization of archaic buildings in the picturesque style of heritage conservation is often claimed to be a new type of space tailored for a cultural community. The conscious manipulation of image for a given place may respond to the large-scale social transformation from a Fordist to a Post-Fordist society, namely, the birth of the new middle class which seeks out the stylization and aestheticization of life (Paul, 2004). Meanwhile, neglecting the uncreative class is sanitized and social inequity is legitimized. As Bourdieu points out, “art and culture consumption are predisposed, consciously and deliberately or not, to fulfill a social function of legitimating social differences” (Bourdieu and Johnson, 1993, p. 2).

Researchers in the conservation field are more concerned with the commodification and exploitation of culture and history, frequently conducted in a distorted manner for maximum economic benefits in name of authenticity. As a response to the resorting to heritage and tradition, Alsayyad (2001) approaches the problem from a perspective of a conscious and deliberate manipulation of culture, wherein the built environment is designed to promise a unique cultural experience. Many culture-led urban regeneration projects might merely “begin with poetry and end[s] with real estate” (Klunzman, 2004; cited by Evans, 2005, p. 959). Disney was not the “first to pioneer the idea of replicating places of the ‘other’ for people to experience.” However, it “was the first to recognize the permanent, continuing commercial potential of such installation” (Alsayyad, 2001, p. 9).

The “city of renewal” era reinforced the widespread use of cultural symbols in urban regeneration (Amin and Thrift, 2002Appadurai, 1990Beauregard, 1995Evans, 2003Hall and Robertson, 2001Zukin et al., 1998). However, regional practices of the creative strategy differ (Atkinson and Easthope, 2009Vanolo, 2008). This transformational movement has been the subject of various research works, more so in the aspect of the political-economic realm. Beauregard and Haila comment that, actors are not “simply puppets dancing to the tune of socioeconomic and political logics but rather relatively autonomous agents” (Beauregard and Haila, 1997, p. 328). Cities are governed by regimes, as put by Stone (1989). An internal coalition of socioeconomic forces pulls the strings in the urban regime. These influential actors with direct access to institutional resources hold a significant impact on urban policymaking and management, and this often results in the urban landscape’s contingent spatial transformation. The spatial outcomes of development and policy spawn continuing social and material consequences infused with the coalition’s vested interests. The powers among different agents within a governing regime vary. In this light, the transformation of urban landscapes needs to be explored from the internal structure of socioeconomic actors and their negotiations in the process.

Cont. Reading...